Act II Summary

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 239

In act II, the next morning, John pauses in the middle of mopping the kitchen floor to write a poem which begins, ‘‘I am the River Niger.’’ Dudley arrives, and the two men leave for the local bar. Mattie explains to Ann that John wanted to become a lawyer, but...

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In act II, the next morning, John pauses in the middle of mopping the kitchen floor to write a poem which begins, ‘‘I am the River Niger.’’ Dudley arrives, and the two men leave for the local bar. Mattie explains to Ann that John wanted to become a lawyer, but had to quit school to support various members of Mattie's family who had migrated from the South to Harlem. Mattie tells Ann that she allows John to drink because she feels responsible for his disappointments in life.

After Mattie and Grandma leave to go shopping, Mo, Gail, Skeeter, Al, and Chips show up and begin harassing Ann. Al follows Ann upstairs and attempts to rape her at gunpoint. Jeff, who has been in his bedroom, attacks Al, takes the gun away from him, and comes downstairs holding it to Al's head. Mo and his men try to bully Jeff into joining their organization, but Jeff does not agree with their politics and tells them he plans to become a lawyer. Mo, Gail, and Mo's men leave. Mattie and Grandma return from shopping and Jeff announces his arrival home. He tells them that he wants to marry Ann. John and Dudley arrive home drunk, and John insists that Jeff put on his military uniform. Jeff tells them that he has flunked out of the Air Force, and that he never liked it. John is so enraged that he walks out.

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